, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 357-362

Relationships between the Rhipicephalus sanguineus complex ecology and mediterranean spotted fever epidemiology in France

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The authors examine the epidemiologic features of Meditteranean spotted fever in France in light of the bioecological pecularities of each of the three known member of the Rhipicephalus sanguineus tick group (R. sanguineus, R. turanicus, R. pusillus). The results show that R. sanguineus is the main vector. Certain aspects of this tick species are of interest: affinity for man, close contact with humans for a long periods, peak of tick population (preimaginal stages) at the same time as the peak of the disease. The largest populations of R. sanguineus are noted in the endemic zone of human rickettsiosis. The fact that immature stages are more prevalent during the hot season and these forms' ability to bite humans is important and may suggest a role for them in the epidemiology of the disease. The sporadic isolation of this species outside the endemic zone may explain the occurrence of isolated cases of the disease in these areas. We cannot currently exclude vector roles for the two other species, which can parasitize humans, though none of our data supports this hypothesis.